Frequently Asked Questions

Why the Partnership on AI? Why now?

Over the past few years, there has been a surge in real-world applications of AI with the rollout of technologies that use advances in learning, perception, and natural language. Today, there are vibrant ongoing discussions about how to maximize the value of these new applications and services, and about the potential societal influences of the technologies, including issues around ethics, economics, privacy, transparency, bias and inclusiveness, and trustworthiness of the technologies. The founding research scientists care about these issues too, and see the opportunity for ongoing cross-industry discussion and the development of best practices to help gain the most from AI technologies for the benefit of people and society.

This group foresees great societal benefits and opportunities ahead, but we also understand that as with every new technology there will be concerns and confusion associated with new applications and competencies, and we look forward to working together on these important issues.

We intend to come together to address these important issues, including ethics, safety, transparency, privacy, biases, and fairness.
 


 

How did the idea for this organization come about?

Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft have been developing AI-related technologies for years. Beyond their work on core R&D efforts, research scientists at these companies have been thinking about and discussing the potential societal impact of AI systems and how potential concerns might be addressed. Conversations have occurred at workshops, conferences, and smaller meetings. Earlier this year, several research scientists at the companies kicked off informal discussions about the possibility of bringing their companies together to form a non-profit organization charged with exploring and developing best practices. Today, we are pleased to announce those discussions have culminated in the formation of the Partnership on AI.
 


 

What are the organization’s goals?

The goals are to ensure that applications of AI are beneficial to people and society. We believe that artificial intelligence technologies hold great promise for raising the quality of people’s lives and can be used to help humanity address important global challenges. This organization seeks to ensure that our work fulfills these expectations. To do this, the organization will study the potential societal impact of AI systems, and develop and share best practices. We will also create working groups for different sectors, for example healthcare and transportation, allowing us to conduct research on the specific AI applications in these different sectors of the economy. We will also develop educational resources and host open forums to widely disseminate information about the latest topics in the field and support an ongoing public discussion about the technology.
 


 

What brings you together?

We believe that by taking a multi-party stakeholder approach to identifying and addressing challenges and opportunities in an open and inclusive manner, we can have the greatest benefit and positive impact for the users of AI technologies. While the Partnership on AI was founded by five major IT companies, the organization will be overseen and directed by a diverse board that balances members from the founding companies with leaders in academia, policy, law, and representatives from the non-profit sector. By bringing together these different groups, we will also seek to bring open dialogue internationally, bringing parties from around the world to discuss these topics. A key operating principle is that we will share our work openly with the public and encourage their participation. The actions of the Partnership, including much of its discussions, meetings, results, and guidance, will be made publicly available.
 


 

How is the partnership structured?

The partnership is guided by a board which will guide the activities of the Partnership. The board, which is yet to be fully appointed, is comprised of seats for representatives from each of the five founding companies, and will be extended to include an equal number of seats for non-company representatives. Day-to-day operations will be overseen by an executive director who will work closely with the board of directors. Conferences, meetings, panels, projects, and working groups will be commissioned by the board and conducted by the executive staff.
 


 

Who represents each company?

Each founding company will have a representative on the board. The current representatives are Ralf Herbrich from Amazon, Mustafa Suleyman from DeepMind/Google, Yann LeCun from Facebook, Francesca Rossi from IBM, and Eric Horvitz from Microsoft.
 


 

What specific actions should we expect?

To meet its goals, the organization anticipates it will host discussions, commission studies, write and distribute reports on critical topics, and seek to develop and share best practices and standards for industry. We will conduct outreach with the public and across the industry on topics related to advancing better understanding of AI systems and the potential applications and implications of this technology as they arise.
 


 

How can I get involved?

We are very excited to work with anyone who is interested in joining our effort. This is a collaborative and multi-stakeholder organization and we want people with an interest in AI from across all fields to take part. If you want to take part in some way then please email us at getintouch@partnershiponai.org.
 


 

Will the Partnership be a lobbying organization?

The Partnership on AI does not intend to lobby on behalf of industry. It was designed to be an independent organization that passionately looks out for the short- and long-term futures of people and society more broadly. We foresee that guidance generated by shared, multiparty stakeholder discussions with balanced and independent reflection and analysis leading to best practices that, in turn, may be useful to industry and other sectors, including policymakers.